Philippine News
9/23/08 NDF: Arroyo regime is Marcos martial law in disguise
Filipino activists in The Netherlands cry for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who they say is a dictator-cum-Marcos in disguise, reported ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.

Coinciding with the 36th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines, the Pinoys protested in front of the Dam town square in Amsterdam to denounce the alleged corruption and killings of so many children and deaths of thousands of people under the Arroyo regime.

Holding banners and posters carrying slogans like “No to Another Dictatorship, Never Again to Martial Law” and “Save Our Children From Poverty and State Violence,” the Pinoys caught so much attention from passersby, plain onlookers and tourists.

The Pinoys chanted and shouted “Patalsikin si Gloria, Pahirap sa Masa.”

‘Pretext of a democracy’

They say that the Philippines is in a state of dictatorship but in the pretext of a democracy and it has to stop.

“Ngayon meron pang deception yung Arroyo regime as if it were a democracy pero actually it is dictatorship in reality and causing so much death, so much hunger, so much starvation because of its oppression against the Filipino people, against the workers, the peasants, all people in Mindanao and throughout the country,” National Democratic Front Chair and martial-law survivor Luis Jalandoni said.

Jalandoni said that with the ongoing chaos in the Philippines, notably the war in certain parts of Mindanao, the time has come for the Arroyo government to hold true and serious talks with the NDF.

“Hindi yung all-out war policy ng Arroyo regime, hindi yung pagbanat sa mga civillian doon sa Mindanao, kundi pag-resume ng peace talks in order to address the root causes of the armed conflict, in order to have meaningful economic, social and political reforms that will benefit the people,” Jalandoni declared.

For Jalandoni’s wife, her message is harsher.

“We should resist what is happening. Labanan natin. We have to say no to what is happening. We have to protest. At ang message ko, makibaka huwag matakot,” Connie Ledesma shouted.

“Ang regime ni GMA ay, as the poster says, parang another dictatorship. Hindi in the same way as having declared martial law, pero ang mga batas, ang mga violations of human rights ganun na rin. Hindi na nag-iiba,” the Makibaka leader added.

Ledesma is also a survivor of the martial law era. She had a taste of iron cage under Marcos when she was imprisoned in early 1974 along with her husband Jalandoni.

She also feels that President Arroyo is competing hard against the Marcos regime.

“Parang contest nga si GMA at si Marcos. Sinong mas maraming nag-didisappear. Sinong mas maraming tortured victims. Ganoon kasama ngayon. So many, many years. So many decades after martial law, it’s still the same. That’s the big tragedy about it,” Ledesma told ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.

A divided opposition

But despite of her bad record, President Arroyo withstood at least three coup attempts, at least three impeachment efforts and countless calls for resignations in her seven years in power.

The Pinoys blame the opposition’s division in the Philippines that resulted in the lack of collective strength to oust Mrs. Arroyo.

“Alam nating lahat si Marcos pinatalsik ng sambayanang Pilipino. Kung bakit si Gloria, samantalang napakatindi ng human rights violations, halos isang libo na napapatay, yung victims ng extra judicial killings at napapabalitang corruption involved ang first family…eh hindi nagkakaron ng pagkakaisa sa hanay ng oposisyon,” NDF member Dan Borjal said.

‘Hurting as a Filipino with the present regime’

The Pinoys here feel that they can’t wait anymore for President Arroyo’s term to end in 2010.

Between now and then, it will torture them to see President Arroyo remain in power because a growing lot has started to feel that it has seriously become painful to be a Filipino in the present regime.

Who else, but the migrant workers, in particular the domestic helpers.

“Napipilitang lumabas ang mga migrante. Ilan na ngayon ang migranteng nasa labas ng ating bansa. 8 million. Ngayon ano ang kalagayan nila. Di ba sila ay hikahos at pinagsasamantalahan habang sila ay nasa labas ng bansa. At ano naman ang ginagawa ng gobyerno niya [Arroyo’s]. Wala namang serbisyo siyang nabibigay. Ilan ang umuuwing patay, bangkay na walang hustisyang nakukuha,” asks Migrante’s Grace Punongbayan.

“Kaya ang rehimen ni Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pasanin ng mamamayang Pilipino. Sobra sobra na ang ginagawa ng gobyernong ‘yan. Ang pagpatay niya sa mga leader, progresibong leader ng iba’t-ibang samahan. Ang kanyang gobyerno, walang ginagawa upang magkaroon ng trabaho sa ating bansa para ang mga kababayan natin ay di na kailangan lumabas at mawalay sa kanilang mahal sa buhay,” Punungbayan added.

The Pinoys, most especially the migrant workers, feel that it hurts deep to be a Filipino with Mrs. Arroyo as its leader, said Punungbayan.

“Masakit ang maging Pilipino sa mga panahong ito. Halimbawa dito sa Europa, ang lahi natin ay wala namang ibang nakikitang trabaho kundi paglilinis lang ng mga bahay bahay. Parang isang buong lahi ba na nakondena na sa margins of prosperous European societies so masakit tanggapin para isang Pilipino na parang hanggang dun nalang ba ang lahi natin,” Punongbayan said.
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